Advent Season Is Upon Us

Advent season is upon us and with it is a reminder that God often hides his greatest gifts in ordinary packages. Perhaps that is because he doesn't want us to become enamored with the mode of delivery and thereby miss the significance of the gift being offered. So we must be careful about presumptuously prejudging the appearance of ordinary things, ordinary days, or even ordinary people.

In recent days I have been reading Ron Chernow’s biography titled Grant. In it Chernow tells the story of Ulysses S Grant's meteoric rise from store clerk to Civil War hero and beyond. By the fall of 1863, Grant had overseen successful campaigns in Vicksburg and Chattanooga. Suddenly, national leaders and politicians who just months before would have hardly recognized his name now sought to rub shoulders with the Union's hope of victory. In October of that year, on his way to a meeting in Louisville, Grant was approached by Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, and Ohio Governor, John Brough. Here is how Chernow describes the encounter…
“While Grant and Stanton had communicated via telegraph, they had never set eyes on each other. Short of breath, asthmatic, snuffling with a heavy cold, the short, stout Stanton barged brusquely into Grant's car, eyed the officers present, and then began to pump the hand of a bearded man with an army hat whom he assumed was Grant. "How do you do General Grant?" he cried. "I recognize you from your pictures." Stanton was embarrassed to learn he was shaking hands with Grant's medical director, Dr. Edward Kittoe.” Chernow goes on to state, "Stanton later admitted that in guessing which officer was Grant, he had eliminated the real Grant because he looked much too ordinary and wasn't the prepossessing figure he had imagined."

Born in an insignificant town, to unknown parents, in humble surroundings, Jesus was missed by many. He was overlooked because "he looked much too ordinary and wasn't the prepossessing figure" some had imagined. Two thousand years later, Jesus can still be missed. In a quest for happiness, we can miss the source of joy. In the quest to find peace, we can miss the Prince of Peace. And in pursuit of Christmas gifts, we can miss the gift of Christmas… “And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” (Luke 2:10–11)

Celebrating the Arrival of Christ

We'll be celebrating the arrival of our Savior all month long and to help you and your families remember and celebrate, we are making available two free resources. First, for adults, pick up a copy of “The Christmas Code.” This is a wonderful Christmas/Advent daily devotional book to guide you throughout the month of December. Second, we have a special children’s focused advent devotional book, the Family Advent Guide from Lifeway Kids, designed to help parents help their children celebrate the birth of Jesus. Be sure to stop by the welcome center and pick up your free copy/copies… available beginning today (limit of one per family—1 adult devotional along with 1 kid’s devotional for parents).

Reach the World

Our mission offering continues and we are moving closer to our $120,000 goal. If you have not participated, there is still time. I hope you will join in this special effort to bless and assist our mission partners in taking the gospel to the world, locally, nationally, and internationally. Thank you, Ridgecrest, for your always faithful generosity.

And remember, God is always trying to take us someplace new. I love being your Pastor!

For God’s Glory Alone,
Pastor Ray

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